Last updated: March 16. 2013 6:58PM - 232 Views
JOHN MEDEIROS



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Everyone's invited back to the District 2 Tournament.


The district has returned to an open tournament, ending the qualification process from the past couple of seasons. Outside of a one-game Class A bracket, there are plenty of teams aiming for a trip to states.


Among the four classifications, 3A is tilted heavily toward the Wyoming Valley Conference. Six of the top-eight seeds are WVC squads, and four of them played for divisional titles last week.


Class 4A


Outlook: As usual, the two-time district champions will not repeat.


Abington Heights has moved to Class 3A, continuing the tradition forged in District 2. The Comets had won the last two Class 4A titles, before that Hazleton won two and the two before that went to Scranton.


Wallenpaupack (18-4) has the top seed and is the favorite to reach the final game for a second consecutive season.


Wyoming Valley West and Hazleton Area were both 13-9 this season. The Cougars are looking for their first trip to states since 2010, while the Spartans have won their first game and lost their second in the district bracket each of the last six seasons.



Dark Horse: Weird to say a No. 2 seed is a dark horse, but Wyoming Valley West exceeded the expectations of some to win 13 games in Paul Appel's first year as its coach.



Upset Special: If Delaware Valley or Scranton – a combined 7-37 – defeat Wallenpaupack in the semifinals, that would be special. But that's highly unlikely.



Best Opening Game: Valley West and Hazleton Area meeting for the third time should be fun. The Spartans swept the season series, but their Feb. 7 meeting was a 43-37 game.



Prediction: Wallenpaupack looks tough to beat, and should only be challenged by the Valley West/Hazleton Area winner. And the WVC teams have to get past each other for a shot at the Buckhorns, making Paupack the favorites.


Class 3A


Outlook: Talk about an anything goes bracket. A 20-win Pittston Area team is the district's fifth seed, and even No. 13 Western Wayne (12-10) sports a winning record.


Scranton Prep (21-1) has won its last 15 games. The Classics lone loss, though, was to third seed Dallas, 40-36, on Dec. 22. No. 6 Honesdale defeated Dallas, 55-44, on Dec. 11.


No. 2 Holy Redeemer is the last WVC team to win the district, doing so in 2009. Dallas's win over the Royals last season is the Mountaineers' lone tourney win in the last four years.


No. 4 Nanticoke went to states last season, and has won at least two tournament games in four of the past five seasons. Pittston Area is seeking its first district win since 2007, while No. 7 Crestwood points back to 2006 for its last victory.


Lake-Lehman holds the eighth seed and Meyers the 14th seed after they moved up from Class 2A. No. 12 Wyoming Area is in the postseason for the first time since 2010.



Dark Horse: No. 10 Abington Heights traditionally has a great program. Winning a difficult opener at Crestwood could spark a run. Abington Heights won their Dec. 17 meeting 50-47.



Upset Special: The Royals are a tall order, but would anyone be happy facing Berwick in the first round? The Bulldogs, one of the district's best defensive teams, have a win over Lake-Lehman to their credit, a one-point loss to Dallas and a pair of single-digit losses to Pittston Area on their resume.



Best Opening Game: Comets vs. Comets on the Mountain Top should be entertaining.



Prediction: It's easy to say the top three seeds will be off to states, but this field is deep. At least two of Scranton Prep, Holy Redeemer and Dallas should move on to PIAA play, though.


Class 2A


Outlook: Defending champion Montrose was perfect in Lackawanna League Division 4. Holy Cross and Dunmore are strong contenders in the bracket.


GAR seemed to grow down the stretch, finishing with the No. 2 seed in a tournament that has just six teams with better than .500 records in the 15-squad field.


Hanover Area finished right behind the Grenadiers in WVC play, but start from the seventh seed. The Hawkeyes are in a good position to force a third game between the league rivals.



Dark Horse: Lakeland is down at the eighth seed, but the Chiefs are capable of beating almost anyone in the tournament.



Upset Special: Wyoming Seminary won just three games, but will play a sub-.500 Elk Lake team. With secondary scoring, the Blue Knights could be first-round bracket busters.



Best Opening Game: Blue Ridge at GAR. This shouldn't be competitive, but it will be the Grenadiers' shot at their first district win since they went to states in 2008.


Runner-up is Lackawanna Trail at Hanover Area, as it's been even longer since the Hawkeyes won a district tournament game.



Prediction: The defending champions have a first-round bye, but the road to states is a bumpy one. Dunmore has a great chance to regain its district supremacy.


Class A


Outlook: The championship is already set. Unbeaten Old Forge is the obvious favorite to win its fifth district crown in six seasons.



Dark Horse: None available.



Upset Special: If Forest City wins the district title, it would be considered an upset.



Best Opening Game: Only one game in this tournament.



Prediction: Old Forge heads to states with a perfect run through its first 23 games.

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